Starweek Magazine

Ballet Philippines’ 47th season opens with ‘Firebird’

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Ballet Philippines’ 47th Season: “Wings” sets off to a soaring start this August with “FIREBIRD and other ballets”.Russian-born George Birkadze choreographs an all-new “Firebird”, reimagined into a pre-Hispanic setting, with costumes by visionary painter, Mark Lewis Higgins.

Set to a rousing score by Igor Stravinsky, “The Firebird” is a classical ballet filled with magic, adventure, and love. The ballet centers on the journey of its hero, the Pearl Merchant from the Silk Road, and his encounters with the mystical Firebird, who comes to his aid against the magician, Koschei the Immortal, and helps him free the Princess from the Land of Spices and other enchanted princes and princesses from Koschei’s spell. This production will be Ballet Philippines’ third version of the ballet; the first being choreographed in the company’s 10th season, by guest ballet master Armin Wild, with Edna Vida-Froilan as the Firebird, and the second being Denisa Reyes’ bolder, more modern version for the 15th Season.

Born in Russia, Birkadze began his dance training at National Academy of Dance of Tbilisi with Vakhtang Chabukiani. He was then invited to attend the School of the Bolshoi Ballet in 1991, where he graduated with Honours in Classical Ballet, Pas de Deux, and Traditional Dance. He has since choreographed and danced in numerous countries and molded the careers of many dancers around the world. Birkadze first started working with Ballet Philippines in 2014, restaging his “Farandole” and “R/J” for the company.

Higgins, co-director of SLIM’s Fashion and Art School, uses draws upon elements in Philippine history such as gold, spices, and porcelain in his designs. Higgins first collaborated with Ballet Philippines in 1998, when he designed the costumes for Agnes Locsin’s “Four Last Songs”.

The cast is led by Rita Angela Winder and Jemima Reyes as the Firebird, Jean Marc Cordero and Garry Corpuz as the Pearl Merchant from the Silk Road, Denise Parungao and Monica Amanda Gana as the Princess From the Land of Spices, and Cyril Aran Fallar and Victor Maguad as Koschei the Immortal.

“Firebird and other ballets” will be staged at the CCP Main Theater on Aug. 19 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 20 and 21 at 2  and 6 p.m. The show also features David Campos’ “Ne Neh Ledej”, Dwight Rodrigazo’s “Moving Two”, and Carlo Pacis’ award-winning “Shifting Wait”. For inquiries, visit www.ballet.ph, email [email protected], or call 551-1003.


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